New Delhi (India): Assuring everyone about the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said the only way to resolve the issue of “vaccine hesitancy” which is present in all countries in the world is to address all doubts and confusions of the beneficiaries.
“The vaccine hesitancy exists in all countries. It has got nothing to do with COVID-19. Probably the degree would be slightly more in Covid-19 across countries because the disease is new. We have seen vaccine hesitancy in the polio vaccine, in measles, mumps, and rubella. The only way of addressing this situation with the beneficiary group is by trying to address all their doubts and confusions,” said Bhushan on vaccine hesitancy at the Health Ministry press briefing.
As many as 4,54,049 people have been vaccinated till early Tuesday morning amid the ongoing vaccination drive in the country.
“4,54,049 people have been vaccinated till now. The active cases are around 2 lakhs after seven months and the number is declining. The daily number of deaths is less than 140 after eight months,” said Rajesh Bhushan.
Clearing the air on the Adverse event following immunization (AEFI), he said, “As per the data available so far, only 0.18 percent is the Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI) and 0.002 is the percentage of the people who were hospitalized following immunization.”
Speaking on the efficacy of the vaccine, Dr VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog asked the people of the country to have faith that we have a system to track the nationwide vaccination drive.
“The concerns about the adverse effects, serious problems as of now seem to be unfounded, negligible, insignificant and the data shows that we are in a situation of a lot of comforts. And we would like to reassure that with the data you have seen that these two vaccines are safe,” Dr. Paul.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) director Dr. Balram Bhargava said that by using vaccines, the country can end the chain of virus transmission.
“Firstly, the vaccines do not cause COVID-19. Secondly, vaccines prevent Covid-19. Thirdly, vaccines prevent COVID-19 deaths. So the time to take the vaccines is now. We can end the chain of virus transmission. So the time to take the vaccine is now,” said Dr. Bhargava.
On the question of active follow-up of the vaccine recipients for Covaxin, he said,” The vaccines have been given emergency use authorization or restricted use in emergency situations. That is the exact parlance. Restricted use in an emergency situation is under very strict vigilance for this Covaxin.”
“There are three documents. First, you have to see the fact sheets. Number two, you sign a consent form and then you also fill an AEFI form. Over and above that, all three agencies (Bharat biotech, Health Ministry, ICMR) are ensuring that a follow-up is done for these people for any adverse events,” he added.